The balance of nature dictates that on average an equal number of male and female dairy calves are born to dairy cows. Generally, the female calves are reared to join the milking herd and the males calves can either be reared for beef, if suitable, or sold for veal. Official estimates indicate that more than three quarters of all male dairy calves born are reared for beef in the UK.
An increasing number of specialist calf rearing units are being developed. This has been encouraged by some retailers developing alternative markets for bull calves, including welfare friendly, British reared rosé veal and beef.
Some dairy farmers also use sexed semen to make sure that more female dairy calves are born.
Where no other viable options exist, very regrettably, farmers have no choice but to cull their bull calves.